Major League Baseball
Julio Rodríguez logs record nine hits in two days, including game-winning HR
Major League Baseball

Julio Rodríguez logs record nine hits in two days, including game-winning HR

Updated Aug. 17, 2023 11:20 p.m. ET

Julio Rodríguez had a career-high five hits to go with five RBIs, including a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning, and the blundering Seattle Mariners escaped the Kansas City Royals with a 6-4 victory on Thursday.

Rodríguez had three singles and a triple to go with his home run while joining Álex Rodríguez, Mike Cameron and Ruppert Jones in select company. 

The five-hit performance Thursday followed Julio Rodríguez's four-hit night on Wednesday, giving him nine hits over the last two days. It marks the first time that a player has recorded that many hits over a two-game span this season. In addition, Rodríguez (who is 22 and 231 days old) is the youngest player to record that many hits in a two-game span since 1936.

The homer was the 20th of the season for Rodríguez, who already had stolen 30 bases, making the 22-year-old phenom just the fourth Mariners player in the 20-30 club. He's also just the second player in MLB history to have 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in each of their first two seasons, joining Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.


Thursday's performance added to the recent tear that Rodríguez has been on since the start of August. Prior to Thursday, he was hitting .328 with a .908 OPS to go along with two homers and 16 RBIs in his first 14 games of the month. 

Rodríguez's surge in August has aligned with the tear that the Mariners have recently been on. Seattle won for the 11th time in the last 14 games on Thursday, moving it just a half-game back of Toronto for the final wild-card spot in the American League. 

Of course, Rodríguez had some help along the way. Cal Raleigh added a homer in the ninth inning to give Seattle's bullpen some breathing room. Isaiah Campbell (3-0) earned the win for the Mariners with a scoreless seventh inning. Trent Thornton tossed a perfect eighth and Matt Brash breezed through the ninth inning for his fourth save.

Carlos Hernandez (1-8) took the loss when Rodríguez pounded the first pitch he threw over the left-field bullpen.

Nelson Velazquez homered for the fourth time in seven games for Kansas City, and MJ Melendez, Michael Massey and Freddy Fermin also drove in runs for the Royals during a fitting finish to a wacky four-game series.

Each team had a player thrown out at the plate Thursday. Another was cut down on the base paths, one was picked off first base and Seattle had a runner called out after he inexplicably started back to the dugout when an outfielder dropped his fly ball.

Angel Zerpa somehow kept the Royals in the game through the first four innings, stranding runners in each but surrendering just one run. And it was still 1-0 when Velazquez went deep in the fourth inning to tie the game.

The Mariners pulled back ahead in the sixth when Max Castillo walked the first two batters and Rodríguez scorched a liner to left. The ball cleared Melendez, who had misjudged its angle of approach, and wound up at the outfield wall. Cade Marlowe scored easily but Dominic Canzone was thrown out trying to score from first.

It wasn't the first base running mistake.

Maikel Garcia was thrown out at the plate on Witt's double in the bottom of the inning, though the Royals kept the offense rolling. Massey tied the game with a single, Velazquez added a single and Melendez a go-ahead double, before Fermin added a sacrifice fly — with the inning coming to a close when Melendez was thrown out at third base.

The biggest base running blunder came in the seventh, though.

Dylan Moore hit a fly ball that Melendez raced in and laid out to catch. Moore thought he got it cleanly and, after touching first base, turned around and headed for the Seattle dugout. But the ball actually had bounced out of Melendez's glove, and he alertly threw to first base, where the umpires ruled that Moore had given himself up.

Fortunately for him, Rodríguez was there to rescue the Mariners with his no-doubt shot the very next inning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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